Smarter Ways to Collect and Use Testimonials

Client testimonials are crucial to building a robust real estate brand, but you need to learn how to collect and use them correctly in order to get the most out of this vital marketing asset.

Case studies are some of the most effective content marketing tactics, which is why businesspeople from every industry constantly ask for feedback and quotes from clients. And it’s no different in real estate. When potential customers can hear from a third party what it’s like to work with you, they’re much more likely to take the plunge.

Real estate professionals need reviews on their own websites, as well as on sites such as Yelp and®, in order to build a positive online brand. However, attaining testimonials can prove difficult at times. Here are tips on getting started.

How to Gather Reviews

Ask the right questions, but make them easy

Clients won’t want to write a four-page essay, so make sure you ask simple queries that won’t take too much time or effort to answer. Be as pointed and direct as possible. Try asking:

  • Why did you choose me to buy or sell your home?
  • What did you like best about your experience working with me?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • What challenges did I help you overcome during the process?
  • Would you recommend me to friends and family? Why or why not?

If you want clients to post their review themselves, make sure to send them the appropriate links, so they don’t have to dig around to figure out where to post. Yelp has recently cracked down on asking for reviews, so I recommend simply telling your customer you are on Yelp and using a sticker in your email signature.

Follow up appropriately

If a few weeks have passed after a completed transaction and you haven’t gotten a review from your client, it’s OK to follow up. A good approach is to call and ask how they’re settling in the house and at the end of the call nicely remind them about the review. Always acknowledge that they’re probably busy moving in and tell them that you’ll resend the email with the questionnaire, so they don’t have to search through their emails to find it.

Use the right tools

If you try to collect all your feedback in email form, it will be hard to sort reviews and load them onto the appropriate site. Instead, try using tools that reduce the work of collecting and organizing client testimonials. SurveyMonkey, Boast, Wufoo, and TypeForm all help businesses do just that. Or you can use a free tool such as Google Forms to gather and organize customer feedback. 

Where to Place Testimonials

Saturate review sites

Now that your past clients are leaving reviews, it’s important those reviews are seen by potential clients. Make sure your profiles are up-to-date on all the major aggregator sites, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Facebook. Many review sites allow you to embed reviews about your services on your own site. You may also consider cross-posting them on other social media pages from time to time. 

Post testimonials on your websites

Whether it’s a company page or an individual agent’s site, testimonials should play a prominent role in the design and be easy to find. Add short snippets on the homepage so prospects see them immediately when they land on your site. Make it easy for visitors to navigate to a testimonial page as well, and organize the reviews by buyers and sellers or by property type.

Use testimonials in other materials

Testimonials can be used in many different marketing vehicles, including newsletters, brochures, fact sheets, and blogs. Wherever prospects are looking (online and offline), it’s essential the testimonial shows up front and center to demonstrate the good experiences your past clients have had. Be sure to tell your reviewer where their testimony may be featured and include any legal releases that may be necessary to use their words in your marketing. 

The referral landscape is changing. According to the 2017 BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey, 85 percent of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. Both buyers and sellers appreciate the reassurance of others when selecting a real estate professional, and agents who can build up positive reviews will have a distinct advantage in gaining clients.

Editor's Note: This article was updated after publication to remove a section on providing incentives for past client reviews, after it was determined there was not enough information about how to disclose such relationships included in the piece.